After undergoing the knife to repair a small tear in his right shoulder capsule in January, The Ring, WBA, WBC and super middleweight champ Andre Ward expects to be completely healed and able to reenter the squared circle in the summertime.
Ward (26-0, 14 KOs), who became the first American to capture boxing gold in eight years as a light heavyweight at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, suffered the injury in November while training to scrap past titleholder Kelly Pavlik on March 2 at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, California.
“I still feel some discomfort when making some moves,” said Ward, 28, voted last winter as the 2011 “Fighter of the Year” by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA). “The doctors gave a good prognosis for full recovery of the shoulder and said I should be back in the ring in six months.”
Most recently, the Bay Area native easily retained his belts by battering formidable Ring Magazine and WBC light heavyweight titleholder “Bad” Chad Dawson en route to achieving a 10th round TKO on September 8 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
Prior to dominating Dawson (31-2, 17 KOs), Ward unified two crowns and won The Super Six World Boxing Classic when he trumped Carl Froch by unanimous decision in December 2011 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
Ward, who is rated by Ring Magazine as the second pound-for-pound boxer in the world, is now in position to become a national superstar and household name like fellow American gold medalists Muhammad Ali, “Sugar” Ray Leonard and Oscar De La Hoya.
Roger “Pit” Perron is a venerable boxing trainer from Brockton (Mass.) who now works with Mike and Rich Cappiello at their gym, Cappiello Brothers Boxing and Training.
Perron raved about Ward and predicted “The Son of God” will recover and outclass all challengers for the foreseeable future.
“Ward clearly sticks out in the division,” said Perron, 75, who worked with International Boxing Hall of Famer Marvelous Marvin Hagler at the Petronelli Brothers Gym. “He had just a great performance his last time out. There’s no telling when, or if, he’ll next lose. With his age, his shoulder won’t be a lasting issue.”
In contrast to the thoughts of Perron, it’s concerning that an orthodox boxer like Ward, especially one who displayed newfound power against Dawson, has sustained such an injury.
Regardless, a unique talent for the ages like Ward, a man who has unbelievably not vacated the squared circle on the losing end of a bout since he was a 12-year-old amateur, will manage to “be back in the ring in six months.”
Upon returning to the sport, Ward will manhandle some poor schlep and then begin readying for the victor of the tussle between WBA regular super middleweight champion “The Viking Warrior” Mikkel Kessler and Froch (30-2, 22 KOs) on May 25.
Hence, Andre Ward’s first triumph in 2014 will occur against either Froch or Kessler (46-2, 35 KOs).by